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Know Your BDM: Helen Mountain, Vida Homeloans

  • 23/08/2019
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This week Mortgage Solutions is speaking to Helen Mountain, key account manager for the South East at Vida Homeloans.


How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

My area stretches from Southampton across to Kent and up to South West London, so I have lots of brokers representing a hugely diverse and differing demographic.


How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?

Having such a large area, my ability to organise my day is vital to my success. Through a combination of geographical zoning, using technology and with a hint of cold calling thrown in for good measure, I’m able to maximise my face-to-face calls while ensuring telephone broker contact is maintained.


What issues come up time and time again?

Apart from the obvious clarification around our policy points, I’m often asked about our processes for business submission as many of my contacts are new to Vida. Satisfyingly, their next call to me is often another new enquiry as our systems are designed to make the broker journey as efficient as possible.


What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

That my broker relationships are key to both of us being successful and that I work tirelessly to add value. Balancing my efforts externally to foster trusted business partners while liaising with internal colleagues can be a tricky process and one that thankfully, I’ve become rather adept at.


What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?

Determination and organisation are absolutely key. Not only does this mean I can position appropriate and tailored lending solutions to each new business enquiry, but can proactively prioritise my activity to ensure returning calls, answering emails and following up are all effectively addressed as required.


When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?

The easiest way to get in touch if I’m not available is by leaving a voicemail or to send an email. I try to return calls and emails as soon as possible and at the very least, the same day. And of course brokers can always call the Vida telephone BDM team as an alternative.


If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

I’d ensure that the FCA had a more granular understanding of brokers’ day-to-day activities, concerns and pressures so that they could position regulation roll-out to the specialist market in a more favourable way.


What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?

Working in the retail banking sector some 30 years ago, I quickly realised I needed a more challenging role and progressed to being a BDM 18 long years ago. During my time within financial services, both in the UK and Australia, I’ve gained lots of experience in both creating and maintaining business relationships which, in my current role at Vida, has proved invaluable.


How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

For me, it’s all about trust and working together. By maintaining regular contact and providing ways that Vida’s policy can help, I’m constantly adding value to my broker relationships. I’ll always do what I say I’ll do and I strive to provide the best possible service I can to both my brokers and their clients. I want to be viewed as the go-to BDM for as many appropriate enquiries as possible.


And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

Since joining Vida it’s been clear there is a common drive to constantly improve our broker proposition and my understanding of the roles of others in various functions at Vida’s head office has ensured we all pull together to deliver this. Oh, and a few post team meeting drinks with the head office crew usually helps as well.


What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

Random (slightly inebriated) guy on the last tube home: ‘Would you rather fight one giant duck or 100 tiny ducks?’
Safe to say I got off at the next station without being pursued by either option.


And finally, what did you want to be growing up?

Apart from my schoolgirl desire to be a dancer on Top of the Pops, my real passion was gymnastics.  Sadly, my adult coordination let me down and the world of finance beckoned as a close second.



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